IBM employees will reportedly no longer be allowed to use any form of removable storage to transfer data while at work.
The Register reports the announcement to staff was made today by Shamla Naidoo, the company’s global chief Information security officer, who explained that “the possible financial and reputational damage from misplaced, lost or misused removable portable storage devices must be minimised.”
As a policy, bans on removable storage aren’t that unusual. The Department of Defense issued a ban on USB drives in the wake of the agent.btz worm, then lifted it a few years later; the NSA, on the other hand, had policies in place to stop employees from using removable storage. We can consult Edward Snowden on how well those policies worked. According to Naidoo’s leaked announcement, parts of IBM have already been working without portable drives, but the ban now reportedly extends to all 350,000+ employees.
We’ve reached out to IBM for comment on its reported removable storage ban and will update when we receive a response.
As to why this policy is being put in place now, we’re left to wonder—who fucked up?
Update 5/10/18 2:58pm ET: An IBM spokesperson confirmed the ban and added that, “we regularly review and enhance our security standards and practices to protect both IBM and our clients in an increasingly complex threat environment.”